Men’s Hockey: Norwich Clips Cardinals, 4-3

Courtesy Norwich Sports Information

NORTHFIELD – The Norwich University men’s ice hockey team avenged one of its losses on the season with a 4-3 victory over its Lake Champlain rival Plattsburgh State on Tuesday night at Kreitzberg Arena.


Norwich (15-5-1, 11-2-1 NEHC) got a pair of goals from Todd Jackson (Holly Springs, N.C.), who returned to the lineup after missing a week to lead the Cadets’ offense for their seventh win in their last eight games.


Freshman forward Scott Swanson (Wheaton, Ill.) and senior defenseman Connor Evangelista (Wakefield, Mass.) tallied two assists, while Jordan Hall (Anchorage, Alaska) and Felix Brassard (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec) added a goal each for Norwich.


Sophomore goalie Tom Aubrun (Chamonix, France) stayed perfect in his Norwich career, stopping 18 shots to improve to 5-0-0 on the season.


Norwich opened the scoring at the 5:37 mark of the first period with Brassard tallying a power play goal off an assist from Evangelista to take a 1-0 lead. Evangelista made a nice play on his backhand to keep the puck in the zone, he then crossed a pass over to Brassard at the top of the left faceoff circle and Brassard did the rest, firing a wrist shot over the shoulder of Plattsburgh’s Lawson Fenton for his sixth goal of the year.


Plattsburgh State (10-10-0, 4-7-0 SUNYAC) didn’t take long to respond with a power play goal of its own with Matt Quilty sniping a wrist shot off the inside of the right goal post off a pretty set up rush by Charles Barber and Liam Lawson. Aryton Valente started the play in the Plattsburgh zone hitting Lawson with an outlet pass, Lawson then sent a cross ice pass to Barber in stride skating into the NU zone. Barber then dropped it back to Quilty, who fired the puck off the inside of the right post to tie the game at 1-1.


Plattsburgh State took a 2-1 lead at the 14:32 mark when the Cardinals’ bottled up NU in its own zone on the forecheck, forcing a bad outlet pass that bounced off the half boards and was intercepted right at the blue line by Antoine Fornier-Gosselin. Gosselin was all alone at the top of the slot and he fired a wrist shot over the glove of Aubrun to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.


Norwich responded just under three minutes later with Jackson scoring his first of the night off a loose scrum in front of the Plattsburgh net. TJ Dockery (Lockport, N.Y.) started the play with a shot from the point that was saved by Fenton. The rebound sat right on top of the crease though and Swanson got a swat at it before Jackson finally came around and poked the puck over the line for his fifth of the season.


Norwich took a 3-2 lead with 58 seconds left in the second period with Hall scoring his seventh goal of the season on the power play off assists from Alec Brandrup (Rochester, Minn.) and Evangelista. Hall sniped the top corner of the net and popped the water bottle with a great shot off a nice cross ice pass from Evangelista to find Hall at the top of the left faceoff circle.


Plattsburgh State tied the game at 3-3 at the 10:23 mark of the third period with Mike Falanga tipping a puck under Aubrun off an odd-man rush. Antoine Desnoyers picked up the primary assist with the centering pass from the left after Fournier-Gosselin played the puck up into the zone from center ice.


Jackson scored the game-winning goal with exactly six minutes left in the third period after he sent a soft shot through traffic that beat Fenton five-hole off assists from Coby Downs (Montclair, Calif.) and Swanson.


Fenton made 21 saves for Plattsburgh before being pulled for the final 1:58 as the Cardinals tried to find the equalizer with an extra skater.


However, Aubrun and the NU defense buckled down to preserve the victory. Norwich improved to 30-23-6 all-time vs. Plattsburgh State with the win.


Norwich returns to NEHC play this weekend when it travels to New England College and Southern Maine for its final regular season away games. NU then returns home to Kreitzberg Arena to close out the regular season on Feb. 9 and 10 when it hosts Hobart and Skidmore.